Bright Venus a Great Place to Learn but not to Live

Venus and earth are similar in size,   in proximity to the sun,  and in gravitation.  But living conditions there compared to earth are very different indeed.  Venus represents the best planetary cautionary tale that earth science can access in regard to warning human occupants of earth against greenhouse warming.  The surface temperature on Venus is a scorching 470 Celsius, compared to the relatively pleasant present earth temperature of about 15 degrees Celsius.

Also very different is their corresponding albedo effect.  Venus reflects much more brightly than earth due to dense clouds of nasty sulfuric acid, other greenhouse gases, and active belching volcanoes.  Whilst on earth, due to life supporting conditions, land mass and liquid oceans, earth’s albedo effect, or reflecting ability, is weaker.  This explains the beautiful brightness of Venus that led to it being identified as the morning and evening star of so much earth lore and poetry.  Being slightly closer to the sun, puts Venus right on the edge of the horizon at dusk and dawn.  Venus is, then, the brightest “star” in our local solar system.  Perhaps too, this is why the planet is named for the goddess of love.

Of course, in geologic time these temperatures and weather have been different, so it is conceivable that Venus, now steaming hot, was once cool enough to support life.  It is interesting to note that the CO2 levels of the two planets are similar, although such things like corrosive acid rain falling out of the sky is much more prevalent on the planet Venus.  One would need more than a solid steel umbrella and quite the gas mask to endure a visit to Venus! Her surface temperature remains hot enough to melt lead.

With Venus featuring an atmosphere of tons of carbon dioxide,  it  is more similar to Earth’s past than to earth’s  current temperate surface. Covered with stormy desert clouds, Venus geology (or venu-ology?) has been fascinating for astronomers and meteorologists to study to learn more about the effect of greenhouse gases as to how they affect temperatures, atmospheres, density, life potential and more.

Also similar is their gravitational aspects.  A person who weighs 100 pounds on earth would weigh close to 90 pounds on Venus.  This is a quick slim way to lose ten pounds, were one able to withstand the asphyxiating non-breathable air on Venus.

Due to these similarities, Venus and Earth have been called twin planets.  However it is quite obvious thanks to unmanned probes such as Venera  missions 1-14, Vega and Pioneer missions and flybys, that  Venus is not a planet not for habitation.  Still, the bright and shining world of Venus is a great one for study in order to learn what not to do to cook a planet.